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Summer capsule wardrobe

The first summer we went to Europe, we checked 2 bags for our family of 5. I thought that was pretty good, since we needed formal clothes and shoes for our anniversary celebration and 1/2 of one suitcase was also full of swimsuits we had to shoot in Positano. The second summer, we checked 1 big bag and each had a small carry-on. This was much easier to manage than the 2 big check-in bags. However, our 1 checked bag didn't show up when we arrived in Rome and it was somewhat disastrous, since we were driving away early the next morning. It contained ALL of our clothes and toiletries. We got it back just before we had to leave Rome. This summer, we have decided not to check any bags to avoid lost bag disasters and also to make travel days easier (travel days are the worst-- the worst!). Since we will have a washing machine in every place we stay (yay AirBnB!), we'll each be bringing about a week's worth of clothes (and we'll do laundry once a week). 

With just 9 pieces of clothing, I am able to create about 16 different looks (this includes swimwear and does not include shoes or accessories). 


A perfect fitting pair of jeans can go a long way. My tankini swim tops and Positano tops pair perfectly with these high-waisted mom jeans for a more casual look. A white button-down, comfy black block heels, and some jewelry are a great way to dress the jeans up a little.

Button-down skirt

My button-down skirt is my go-to piece on days I want to feel a bit more put together. Paired with the same tops I used with the jeans, this look is more polished (and maybe cooler for super hot and humid days that would make jeans unbearable on my legs).


Jumpsuits look amazing on their own, but throwing a white button-down shirt on top completely changes the look. I love that they can be dressed up or down just by changing your shoes and your accessories. And I have made a super awesome discovery-- since our jumpsuit unbuttons at the shoulders, you can tuck it in and wear it as pants!!! Look at how cute it is when paired with a tankini top.


Even though I don't swim, we will be at the beach a LOT this summer. I love how these four pieces mix and match to create such different looks. And my white button-down shirt makes the most amazing cover-up.

I will be packing more than this for the entire summer, but I'm amazed that I was able to create so many looks with so little. 

Some packing tips--

  • Separates like skirts and pants are easier to style multiple ways than dresses because you can mix and match them. I will be packing a black dress that I can wear by itself or layer (a tee underneath, a tankini on top, or my white-button down tied at the waist). 
  • Multi-use pieces are lifesavers! My tankini tops can be worn for swimming, as tanks, or even as workout tops (if working out is your sort of thing). They're great for layering, too. I actually prefer them to regular tanks because most tanks are made out of fairly thin fabric and tend to be see-through in my experience- our tankinis are not see-through at all.
  • A white button down shirt will save the day. I love that it can be worn with pants, skirts, and over dresses. It works as the perfect cover-up on beach days and if you need to cover your shoulders to enter a sacred place, it's lighter weight and will keep you cooler than bringing a sweater or jacket.
  • Choose what you wear onto the airplane wisely. Comfort is key, but remember you can also use the pieces you're wearing to add to your styling possibilities. I plan on wearing a pair of tennis shoes (which will come in handy for hiking days), skinny jeans, a white t-shirt, and a sweater or denim jacket. All of these pieces can be combined with the 9 items above for more outfit choices.

After putting these items into my carry-on (and leaving room for undergarments), I still have about 1/3 of the suitcase empty. I will likely add 5 more items-- another jumpsuit, the black dress I mentioned above, and a few more tees/tanks. That will get me through the entire summer and I won't have to check a bag! Yay for capsule wardrobes and packing light =) 


1 Response

Sandi Mele
Sandi Mele

June 21, 2019

I absolutely love this and LOVE how you play with fun colors and patterns in your capsule! I’m a personal stylist in Denver, CO and may very likely send this article out in a newsletter to my list. It’s just too good!! :) Enjoy your travels and stay safe!!

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XXS 27-29 22-23 28-30
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XXS 27-29 22-23 30-32
XS 30-32 24-25 33-36
S 33-35 26-27 37-39
M 36-37 28-29 40-42
L 38-39 30-31 42-44
XL 40-42 32-34 45-47


XXS 28-30 23-24
XS 30-32 25-26
S 32-34 27-28
M 34-36 28-29
L 36-38 30-31
XL 38-40 32-33


4-5 39-45 34.5-46.5 22-23 21-21.5
6-7 45-52 46.5-63.5 23-25.5 21.5-22.5
8 52-54 63.5-70 25.5-28.5 22.5-24
10 55-56 70-76 28.5-30 24
12 56-58 76-90 30-32 25
14 58-63 90-110 32-33 25-27